The Haus

Monday, April 10, 2000

Rampage Killers

There is an interesting article on the N.Y. Times website about "rampage killers," people who kill a number of people at once. The infamous Columbine killers would fall in this category. Here are some of the results which are rather telling:
While the killings have caused many people to point to the violent aspects of the culture, a closer look shows little evidence that video games, movies or television encouraged many of the attacks. In only 6 of the 100 cases did the killers have a known interest in violent video games. Seven other killers showed an interest in violent movies.
. . .
Society has turned to law enforcement to resolve the rampage killings that have become almost a staple of the nightly news. There has been an increasing call for greater security in schools and in the workplace. But a closer look shows that these cases may have more to do with society's lack of knowledge of mental health issues, rather than a lack of security. In case after case, family members, teachers and mental health professionals missed or dismissed signs of deterioration.
Basically the common thread is that all of these people showed mental illness, about half of which were diagnosed and well-known before the tragedies occurred. I would have thought that by now in an advanced society such as ours (n.b. sarcasm) that we would be better at recognizing and helping people deal with mental illness. It's not so strange then that these attacks are often characterized as "senseless".

This article strongly suggests (and unlike Col. Grossman and others, they actually use facts) that the solution is not banning video games, but recognizing and helping people with mental illnesses rather than shunning and avoiding them. Thanks Blue's News.

News for 04/10/2000

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